In May, a grant awarded to Leeds Hospitals Charity by NHS Charities Together allowed the charity to provide £25,000 in funding to an employee support fund, intended to provide emergency cash to staff who were going through times of financial hardship.

Since then, nearly forty applications for help have been approved, totalling more than £12,000 in cash grants to those working in the NHS. Any employee who worked at Leeds Teaching Hospitals, whether they were full time, agency or bank staff, could apply for help from the fund. The applicant simply needed to outline why they needed support and how their situation had recently been affected.

Read more: NHS Charities Together - Our partnership

The majority of staff members who have been supported so far had experienced adverse circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some had seen their household income fall due to a partner losing a job, whilst others were trying to get help to escape an abusive or harmful relationship.

One anonymous employee told us “I would like to offer my deepest thanks for the grant of £500 from the Employee Support Fund. I have challenged many obstacles in my life… none of these compare to the hurdle of anxiety and worry caused by reduced income due to the Covid-19 virus.  Since knowing my grant was approved, I have slept without waking with worry several times a night. It is a massive help receiving this grant which will be used for food and utility bills until work can be resumed.”

Another said “Filling out the application form made everything feel very real and looking at it in black and white, somehow undeniable. It was a struggle to overcome my own pride and acknowledge that we had reached our limits and actually ask for help. The fact that you were there, without judging me, has lifted a tremendous weight off my shoulders. I cannot thank you enough.”

Read more: NHS Charities Together News

Leeds Hospitals Charity Chief Executive Esther Wakeman said it was brilliant to know charity funding was supporting those working on the frontline who were in need. “Every day our NHS staff have been coming into hospital and caring for others, but they are just as likely to fall onto hard times throughout this pandemic. To hear this feedback and know that funding from NHS Charities Together has helped these families, even in a small way, is really wonderful.”